What To Expect At Your Puppy's First Vet Appointment
During your puppy's first visit, you can expect your veterinarian to do the following:
- Palpate the abdomen and lymph nodes
- Take your puppy's temperature
- Weigh your puppy
- Listen to the heart and lungs
- Examine your young dog's skin and coat
- Assess their eyes, ears, nose, feet, and genitalia
- Check your puppy's teeth and mouth
- A fecal exam to test for the presence of worms (you should bring a stool sample if you can)
- Talk about your puppy’s history and designate time for you to ask any questions you might have about feeding, medical issues, and future care
If your veterinarian sends you home with medications or treatments, make sure you understand when and how to administer them. Follow your veterinarian's instructions carefully and schedule any necessary follow-up visits and vaccinations.
What To Bring To Your Puppy's First Veterinary Visit
If possible, try to bring the following items to your puppy's first veterinary appointment. The more information the vet has, the better they will be able to treat your puppy.
- Any forms provided by your veterinarian that you have already filled out
- Notes on how much and what types of foods and treats you feed your puppy at home
- The veterinary records you received from the breeder or shelter
- A written list of important questions or concerns that you might have
- Your dog's leash and collar or harness
- A dog carrier or crate lined with some old towels or shirts that smell like home
- Small treats to reward good behavior
- Chew toy to distract your pup
- A stool sample that is as fresh as possible
It is important to note that small puppies will be safer and more comfortable in a crate. When visiting the clinic, don't expect to be able to carry a wriggly puppy in your arms. Puppies must be restrained at all times with a leash and collar or harness. This is why a chew toy or a few treats are a good idea.
What To Ask Your Vet At Your Puppy's First Visit
Your veterinarian should be able to provide you with all of the information you require to assist your puppy in growing and living a healthy life. If you have any questions that you believe they have overlooked, or if the information they have provided is confusing, don't be afraid to ask for clarification.
Having said that, a list of questions can help you get the most out of your puppy's first veterinary appointment. Here is a list of some good questions to ask your vet during the visit.
Health & Safety
- Are there any health concerns specific to my puppy’s breed(s)?
- How often does my puppy need to see the vet?
- Should I microchip my dog?
- When should I spay or neuter my puppy?
- What is heartworm disease and why is prevention important?
- How many times a day should my puppy poop?
- Does my puppy need flea and tick prevention?
Behavior & Training
- Do you know any local trainers?
- How long can they stay in their crate?
- Do you recommend crate training?
- When can my puppy go to the pet store/dog park/groomer?
- How do I socialize my puppy with other humans and dogs?
- How much exercise does my puppy need?
- How do you potty train a puppy?
Feeding Your Puppy
- How many times a day should my puppy eat?
- What should my puppy eat?
- When do puppies switch to adult dog food?
The Cost of Your Puppy's First Veterinary Visit
The majority of what happens during a puppy's first vet visit is routine; however, the costs can vary depending on factors such as location, vaccines, and prescribed medications. You can save money by using veterinary wellness programs, vaccination clinics, and pet insurance. You can contact your veterinarian directly to get a more precise quote and avoid unpleasant surprises.